101 Ways for Artists to Make Money – The Ultimate List

ways for artists to make money
101 ways for artists to make money

If you’re looking for some ways for artists to make money you’re going to love this post. I’ve personally researched and compiled this list of over 100 ways for artists to make money!

I’ve created sections for both traditional and digital artists so there’s bound to be something for you. I’ve even gained some new ideas for myself in the process.

Yes, it is possible to make money from your art and creative skills, and even make a full time living from it!

So, let’s dive in.

* Please note, some links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using the links below I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your support and it helps me create more content for you to enjoy!

Traditional Artists

1. Galleries: The most traditional way for artists to sell their work is through an art gallery. Look for “calls for submissions” at local (or international) galleries that align with your style.

2. Art fairs: Another fairly traditional way to sell your artwork is to rent a booth at an art fair. These can be expensive so consider sharing a booth with other artists if you’re just getting started. Art fairs can be great for exposure and networking opportunities.

3. Sell through an art agent: If you can find an agent to represent you this is probably the easiest route. They do take a cut of your sales, but will also expose you to more galleries and clients than you would likely find on your own.

4. Online marketplaces like Etsy, SaatchiArt, and Fine Art America: These are just a few of many online marketplaces that allow you to sell original artwork, like paintings, through their marketplace.

5. Sell directly from your art studio: Artists often host open studio events where people can come right into their studio to observe their art making process, which is a great opportunity to make sales.

ways to make money from your art - sell your work in a gallery

6. Pop up markets: There are often farmer’s markets and other local events where you can rent a booth and sell to your local community. Bonus points if your art is related to the theme of the event.

7. Sell at a local park or beach: There’s always someone selling paintings or illustrations in a local town square or at the beach, so why not you? These generally cater to tourists so local landscapes or cityscapes work well for this.

8. Music festivals: Festivals are often looking for vendors, and people love to bring home a souvenir from these events.

9. Plein air painting or illustration: Draw quick portraits or caricatures of people in a public place, usually geared towards tourists. Or set up your easel and start painting, it’s sure to get people interested.

10. Local coffee shops or restaurants: Approach your favourite coffee shop or restaurant to see if they’d be willing to hang some of your art on their walls. Include a sticker with the price and your contact info to indicate it’s for sale.

11. Auction your art on Ebay: Set a reasonable starting price and let people bid on your artwork!

12. Sell directly through Instagram: You’ve probably already been sharing your artwork on Instagram so why not offer it for sale? Write in the description that people can DM you to purchase, with no website or middle man needed.

13. Sell through Pinterest: Pin photos of your art, or works in progress, to Pinterest with a link to your website or contact information for interested buyers. Bonus points for videos and “Idea Pins”.

14. Sell through Facebook marketplace: Basically the new Craigslist, Facebook marketplace makes it super easy to snap a photo and list your items for sale. Why not your original artwork?

15. Directly through Twitter: Similar to selling through Instagram, post your artwork on Twitter (don’t forget to include a few hashtags) and negotiate sales directly through DM.

16. Your own website: You can simply post images of your artworks for sale and include contact information for interested buyers. Or set up an e-commerce store with a platform like Woocommerce or Shopify.

17. Sell your art through Youtube: Post videos of your process, time-lapses or finished work and mention it’s available for sale. You can include contact information in the description for interested buyers.

18. Instagram and Facebook shops: Separate from Facebook marketplace, you can actually add a store to your Facebook page if you have one for your art. You can also link it to your Instagram account. See this blog post on how to set up a free Facebook shop.

facebook and instagram shops example

19. E-mail list: Collect emails directly through a simple landing page or your website and sell directly to your subscribers via e-mail.

20. Sell directly through TikTok: Similar to other the social media mentioned, you can share videos of your art and process, then sell directly through TikTok DM’s. Also see my post on How to Use TikTok for Artists.

21. Offer commissions to friends and family: Especially if you are just starting out, this can be a great way to get your first commissioned work. You can offer commissions in person or through social media.

22. Custom portraits of people or pets: Offer to make custom portraits for your followers, family and friends. These make great gifts and people often commission these to give to someone else.

23. Apply for grants for artists: There are many grants available to artists through the government and other bodies so do some research to see if you qualify and apply away.

24. Apply to be an artist in residence: Want time to focus on your work and either get paid, get free studio space or even have your living costs covered? Consider applying to be an artist in residence.

25. Enter art competitions: See if there are any art competitions in your area or country, there are often monetary prizes for the winners.

26. Street art and outdoor murals: There are often opportunities for local street art on walls and businesses in your city or town. They usually give you some money and it’s also really great exposure and experience. You don’t have to be a graffiti artist either.

ways for artists to make money - street art outdoor murals

27. Interior murals on the walls of a local café or shop: Shops and cafe’s are often looking for artists to create a feature wall, or paint the interior of their store with some cool art. Be on the lookout for opportunities in your area.

28. Public and community art projects: Similar to street art, cities are often looking for local artists to help work on various public art projects. There is often a substantial budget for this so it can be lucrative to apply if this interests you.

29. Illustrate or make paintings for books: Authors are not always artists themselves and are often looking to hire someone else to illustrate or make paintings for their books.

30. Prints and merch using traditional printmaking techniques: Some people really want to buy shirts or art prints that are made via more traditional printmaking techniques like linocut or screen-printing. If you have experience with that it can be a great way to stand out from the crowd.

31. Bookmarks: You can draw or paint bookmarks and then laminate them to sell alongside your more expensive artwork to make it more accessible.

Digital Artists

32. Art prints through your own website: You can print and ship them yourself or use a print on demand service like Printful which integrates with popular e-commerce platforms.

33. Printable art prints: The customer purchases a downloadable file of your artwork and prints it out themselves. You can sell these on your website or another marketplace of your choice.

34. Sell prints at art fairs: Make prints of your art and sell them at art fairs, or many of the same methods listed above for traditional artists. Prints are generally sold at a lower price point so they can be more accessible.

35. Graphic assets: Design elements, digitized watercolour elements, logos, icons and vector graphics are just a few types of graphic assets you can sell through marketplaces like Creative Fabrica.

36. Print on demand: Turn your art into home décor, clothing, accessories, art prints and more via Print on Demand websites like Redbubble and Society6. Read more about selling through Print on Demand in this post. This is probably one of the easiest ways for artists to make money.

37. Blank notebooks, journals etc. with your art on the cover: Also known as “low content books” you can sell simple lined notebooks, journals or planners with your art on the cover through Amazon KDP. Learn more in this post.

38. Sell wholesale prints of your art in a local boutique: Small boutique stores are often looking for local artisan’s goods to sell in their shops and you could fall under that category! Approach the owner with some samples of your work and see if they’d be willing to sell it in their store (obviously they get a cut).

39. Customizable gifts: People love giving and receiving personalized gifts. Consider adding your artwork to a website like Zazzle where you can create products that the buyer can personalize with their own text and/or images. See my video below on how to do this.

40. Templates: Design templates for Canva, Instagram, Pinterest etc. for small business owners to use for their social media or other marketing. You can sell these via your own website or a marketplace like Creative Fabrica.

41. Web Design: If you are technically inclined you can build whole websites for clients using your graphic design skills. Much of web design is visual and as an artist you likely have an eye for what looks good in web design.

42. Fabric: If you make seamless pattern designs you should definitely consider selling your art on fabric. There are a few places you can do this but I highly recommend Spoonflower. Check out How to Sell Your Art on Spoonflower for more information.

43. Stationary: Through print on demand or a print shop, you can design your own line of stationary products featuring your artwork and sell them as sets.

44. Enamel pins: Another fun product you can make from your art are enamel pins! They are usually sold at a lower price point and are highly collectible. You can make these yourself or use a service to make them for you.

45. Zines and ACEO art cards: Another highly collectible item in the art world are Zines and ACEO or Artist Trading Cards. These are usually small and easy to make. You can sell them on Ebay, your own site or in person.

46. Stickers and t-shirts made with a Cricut machine: If you already have a Cricut machine, or enjoy DIY crafts, consider making and selling stickers and t-shirts of your art with it.

stickers from redbubble

47. SVG files: Speaking of Cricut machines, you can make SVG files (Scalable Vector Graphics) for other people to use with their own Cricuts. Make sure to include a text file with copyright information and usage rights.

48. Background textures: Think marble, wood, concrete and abstract textures that graphic designers or business owners might use for their own graphics. Bundles of this sort do well. Sell these through your own website or a marketplace.

49. Fonts: Create your own fonts and sell them via your own website or a marketplace like Creative Fabrica. You can use an app or website like Calligraphr to build fonts.

50. Brushes, Colour palettes, Presets etc. If you use Procreate, Photoshop or another design software you can easily create custom brushes, presets and colour palettes which you can offer for sale.

51. Pre-made branding kits: Small businesses and entrepreneurs are often looking for pre-made branding kits for their business. These usually include logos, banners, a colour scheme and matching marketing materials.

52. Custom branding kits or logos: Along the same vein as above, you can offer custom branding packages or logos for clients and charge more than you would for a pre-made package.

53. Create textures for 3d worlds: This one might seem kind of random but with the rise of the Metaverse it is actually quite relevant. 3d worlds like Second Life actually rely on 2d and 3d artists to create assets for their marketplaces. You can texture things like clothing and hair or even whole houses and landscapes!

54. Design book covers: Publishers and authors of novels and other books are often looking for striking covers which you can design for them.

55. Coloring pages and books: If you do line art you can draw and sell coloring pages and books of your art. People can either print them off at home, you can get them printed locally or use a service like Amazon KDP.

ways for artists to make money - sell coloring books of your art

56. Sew products with fabric featuring your art: If you follow my advice above and sell your seamless pattern designs on fabric, you can purchase the fabric and make things from it! If you’re handy with a sewing machine you can make things like scrunchies, skirts, purses and more.

57. Art workbooks: This one might take some thought but you can create art workbooks for beginner artists. Think step by step tutorials or templates and guides. These can be digital or sold through Amazon KDP.

58. Coffee table books: Remember those? Imagine a stunning coffee table book chock full of your artwork. You could do this through Amazon KDP and choose the hardcover option to make it premium quality.

59. Comic books: Another option to sell through Amazon KDP, or set up some sort of membership for people to receive comics that you’ve drawn and written.

60. NFT’s: Yes, NFT’s are still a thing. And yes, collectors are still buying them from marketplaces like Opensea, Rarible, and now even more traditional avenues like Sotheby’s are getting in on the action.

61. Write and illustrate a children’s book: Have you ever wanted to write and illustrate your own children’s book? It’s easier than ever to do this now and self publish it through Amazon KDP. You can also try pitching your book to publishers and have it sold worldwide!

62. Greeting card design: Greeting cards are an excellent way to repurpose your artwork. You can sell blank cards with just your art on the front, or add some text and a clever interior caption to make it really stand out. Or create designs specifically for greeting cards if you are so inclined.

63. Calendars: People do still use physical calendars, and usually go for ones that feature beautiful art or photos they can enjoy looking at every month. You can sell these through Print on demand sites or get them printed at a printshop.

64: Cell phone wallpaper: Offering cell phone wallpapers of your art is a great way to make it more accessible, especially to young people who love to customize their phones.

65. Design wedding suites: Custom or pre-made wedding design suites are always in demand. Zazzle is a great place to start selling wedding suites since they have a huge range of products in this category.

Teaching – Art Education

66. Become an art teacher: This is a pretty traditional route but if you can get a job as an art teacher at a school or university you’ll get a steady paycheck. And bonus: summers off!

67. Teach in person classes or workshops: Rather than teaching through a school you can self host some classes or workshops in your area. You could also do this through a local community center.

68. Teach live virtual classes or workshops: You can host live classes through Zoom or even Facebook. Charge an entry fee, then teach from the comfort of your home or studio. Since 2020 many more people are interested in virtual classes.

69. Host “paint night” parties: These are usually easier and more casual than a traditional art class, and often include adult beverages. They can be in person or virtual events. Check out this guide for more information and ideas.

70. Teach through an online education platform: Create video courses for an online education platform like Skillshare or Udemy. This takes some effort up front but once it’s done you can reach an unlimited number of students and get paid for watch time.

behind the scenes teaching a class on skillshare

71. Youtube: Create tutorials or share your art process on Youtube. Once your channel reaches the threshold of 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours you can apply for monetization.

72. Ebooks, PDF guides and tutorials: Create an e-book or PDF guide on your specialty (ex. Watercolor for Beginners). Sell these through your own website or use a marketplace like Sellfy.

73. Tracing worksheets: Many people learn to draw by tracing, so you can create tracing worksheets for people to practice drawing various things. Check out WowArtTemplates for examples of these.

74. Blogging: Start an art blog (like this one) and drive traffic to your various offerings by using content marketing strategies, like sharing tips and tutorials. There are many benefits to having a website and blog for your art business so I highly recommend this one!

75. Mentoring or coaching: Work with aspiring artists one on one in your area of expertise.

76. Consulting: Similar to mentoring, but these can just be one off conversations to help someone with a particular question or problem in your area of expertise. You can consult via Zoom, or in person and charge for your time.

77. Start a Podcast: Podcasts are another great way to drive people to your various offerings and even monetize with ads. You can talk about your art, life as an artist, business strategies and more.

start a podcast
Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

78. Add a membership section to your website: Offer premium content or the ability to directly message you by creating a paid membership section to your website or blog.

79. Guest blogging for art websites or magazines: Share your story or expertise by writing blog articles for websites in your field. Sometimes these are paid opportunities, but it can also help send more traffic to your paid offerings and reach a wider audience.

Other Ways for Artists to Make Money

80. Start a Patreon: On Patreon people can pledge a monthly amount (anywhere from $1 to $500 and up) to access exclusive benefits. You can offer monthly freebies, one on one advice, exclusive art pieces and more.

81. Freelancing: Look for gigs through Upwork, Fiverr and other freelancing websites. This can be a great strategy to build up your portfolio with paid client work and then move on to work with companies directly.

82. Art licensing: Companies like Target, Homesense and even boutique stores are constantly on the lookout for trendy artwork to license for their own product lines. Search for companies looking to license art and apply with your portfolio!

83. Art curation: If you’re an artist you may have an eye for good art, so why not become an art curator! Look for opportunities at a local art gallery or even online. You can network while helping other artists in the process.

84. Affiliate marketing: Promote products you already use and love like art supplies or business tools through your blog, Youtube or other social media. Just add your affiliate link in the description.

85. Illustrate for magazines: Magazines are still a thing and they always need graphics and illustrations for their articles. Search online or in stores for publications that might fit with your style and reach out with your portfolio.

illustrate for magazines
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

86. Sell stock photography: Many artists are also excellent photographers, and you can sell your photos via stock photography websites. You can also sell videos and drone footage through these sites.

87. Art critiquing: Yes, people will pay you to critique their art! Especially if you are an expert in a certain style or medium and they are beginners wanting to level up their work.

88. Organize an art collective: Join forces with other artists and start your own art collective. Then you can pool resources to start your own art gallery, either online or in person.

89. Offer calligraphy services: If you’ve got a knack for hand lettering or calligraphy you can offer custom services for weddings and other events. Also for small business like cafes for their menus and signage.

90. Rent out your art studio or workshop: If you’re lucky enough to have your own art studio or workshop, why not make some extra cash by renting it out when you’re not using it? And help other artists in the process.

91. Make and sell your own custom tools of the trade: Have you developed your own custom tools over the years of practicing your craft? Why not sell those tools to other artists either online or in person.

92. Business tools and templates: Consider selling the templates and tools you use to keep your business organized. Things like spreadsheets, Notion templates or marketing worksheets. Artists who are just starting out find these resources extremely useful.

93. Work at a print shop: If you are experienced with printmaking techniques this would be a satisfying job for you to look into, and often includes a steady paycheck.

94. Become a tattoo artist: Line art and illustrations can be turned into tattoos with the right tools and a good amount of practice!

become a tattoo artist - ways for artists to make money
Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

95. Become a henna artist: Like tattoos but non permanent, if it is a part of your culture consider becoming a henna artist.

96. Become a social media influencer: You can make money as a social media influencer by making viral videos and posts. And yes you can do this within an art niche.

97. Get a traditional job in a creative field: If you like the idea of a steady paycheck but still want to be creative in your day job, consider something like graphic design, UX/UI, video game design or animation.

98. Work on movie or theater sets: If you live in a place where movies or TV shows are produced, or have a few theatres around (for plays, not movies), look for work as a set designer making backgrounds and other set props.

99. Go live on social media: Consider going live on Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, or another platform of your choice where you can get monetary donations from your audience in real time.

100. Art restoration: Make money by restoring original artworks! Basically people bring you their old or damaged art and you fix or sometimes repaint it. This does require some professional training to do this properly.

101. Make custom canvases for artists: If you have a shop (or garage) and the right tools you can make custom wood framed canvases for artists looking for a certain size or just a hand made canvas for their artwork.

Conclusion

Wow, you’ve made it to the end of this list of 101 ways for artists to make money, and now I want to hear from you!

Is something missing from this list? Did any of these ideas inspire you? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers,

julie signing off

7 thoughts on “101 Ways for Artists to Make Money – The Ultimate List

  1. Hi Julie! This was a great post! My only question is, as I was trying to read it in the WordPress reader, I couldn’t figure out how to get the post to actually come up. I was able to view it by “visiting” your blog and clicking on it from there. Was I missing something?🤔

    1. I think because it’s a self hosted blog (wp.org vs wp.com) it doesn’t show the full post in the Reader unfortunately. You do have to visit the website to see the full post.

  2. Very informative post ! Yes an artist can make money by these ways. Thanks for sharing ☺️😊